Two years ago rumors circulated about Sprint investing in Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service, initially Sprint denied that rumor, but today (Jan. 23) the cell phone giant is singing a different tune. Sprint has announced its purchase of a 33 percent stake in Tidal. The partnership will reportedly provide Sprint’s 45 million customers with “unlimited access” to exclusive artist content. Current Tidal users will see no changes to their service.
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“Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential,” Jay Z said in a press release Monday. “[Sprint CEO] Marcelo [Claure] understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint’s 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience.”
Billboard reports that the deal was for an estimated $200 million and that all of Tidal’s two dozen artist-owners will remain aboard. “Jay saw not only a business need, but a cultural one, and put his heart and grit into building Tidal into a world-class music streaming platform that is unrivaled in quality and content,” Claure said. “The passion and dedication that these artist-owners bring to fans will enable Sprint to offer new and existing customers access to exclusive content and entertainment experiences in a way no other service can.”
According to Sprint and Tidal’s joint press release, the fund—estimated by Billboard to boast an annual budget of $75 million—will give participating artists the “flexibility to create and share their work” with their audience.